2:00PM Water Cooler 11/30/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“What is Regulatory Cooperation? The TTIP is not meant to be a traditional trade agreement. Along with trade rules agreed in the treaty negotiations, TTIP comes with a set of framework institutions, and mandates future regulatory cooperation regarding those ‘barriers to trade and investment’ not decided upon in the original agreement. In other words, TTIP is a ‘living agreement,’ an agreement that actualizes itself” [Social Europe]. Skynet! Important post; TPP is also a so-called “living agreement,” as NC readers know.

“TTIP has run into a storm of public opposition, particularly in Europe, mainly stemming from the fear that the interests of multinationals are being put before those of citizens. Trade has become intertwined with the broader issues of corporate power and inequality. TTIP will not be agreed any time soon” [Guardian]. Good overview of “trade” generally.

“The texts from the various trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), make it clear that they will increase production, trade and consumption of fossil fuels” [Guardian].



“Hillary Clinton Calls for $275 Billion in Federal Infrastructure Spending” [Bloomberg]. “Clinton’s plan would put $250 billion toward direct federal spending on infrastructure, while the remaining $25 billion would be seed funds to launch what her campaign described as a “strategic infrastructure bank.” The bank would leverage the initial federal investment to support another $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees and other forms of credit. In all, Clinton’s proposal would end up putting $500 billion in public and private funds toward infrastructure projects.” Needlessly complex.

“Koch ‘Alliance” on Criminal Justice Reform Exposed as Trojan Horse” [Dan Froomkin, The Intercept].

“Challenging the Oligarchy” [Paul Krugman, New York Review of Books]. A useful round-up, including a debunking of “skill-biased technological change.”

The Voters

“If we were betrayed by Bill Clinton, and suffered dashed hopes under Obama, maybe, just maybe, we will get from Hillary Clinton what we most need and truly deserve: a set of political practices and policies that reinforce the truth that black lives must, and do, finally matter” [Michael Eric Dyson, The New Republic].

“The Lesson Of Trump Is You Should Argue With Your Own Team” [Forbes].

“The Koch brothers are spending big bucks to win over Latinos. Here’s why it probably won’t work” [Greg Sargent, WaPo].

“The truth about the white working class: Why it’s really allergic to voting for Democrats” [Salon]. The headline, of course, reflects Salon’s party line on identity politics, although, to be fair, the article itself is useful, in a potentially intersectional way. Here, however, is the deeply buried nut graph:

So if the working class generally likes Democrats (with the exception of working-class whites), why do Democrats lose elections? The key is turnout, a point MacGillis makes, citing some of my research.

The core question then, for Democrats, is how to mobilize the low-income voters who are disproportionately harmed by Republican policies.

As has been known at least since election 2000. Yet the Democrats, from that day to this, have neither increased turnout — with the single exception of 2008, whereupon their immediate betrayals let to the 2010 debacle — nor protected voter registration rights, choosing instead to imitate Republicans. One can only wonder why. The Democrats, to say the least, have not displayed adaptability, and organisms that don’t do that don’t survive.

The Trail

“N.H. primary poll puts non-candidate Romney first” [Boston Globe]. Time to strap Seamus on top of the car and go for a spin again?

“Push to make ethanol a player in presidential race” [Des Moines Register]. Use oil and gas to grow plants to make gas. It’s perfect.

“How a Jim Webb independent presidential bid could actually matter (hint: Virginia)” [WaPo]. Another book tour for Webb?

New Hamphire Union Leader endorses Christie [New York Times].

Sanders: “From coast to coast, the American people are crying out for change, for real change” [The Hill].

Stats Watch

Chicago PMI, November 2015: “Volatility is what to expect from the Chicago PMI which is back in contraction” [Econoday]. “New orders are down sharply and are back in contraction while backlog orders are in a 10th month of contraction.” And: “wildly gyrating” [Econintersect]

Dallas Fed Mfg Survey, November 2015: “The Dallas Fed’s general activity index is in contraction for an 11th consecutive month” [Econoday].

Pending Home Sales Index, October, 2015: “Sales of existing homes have been soft and are not likely to pick up in the next few months based on October’s pending sales index: [Econoday]. “[T]he most striking episode in the graph above is the Great Recession in 2008-2009. Falling GDP around the world meant falling demand for commodities. It was also associated with a flight to safety in capital markets, which showed up as a surge in the value of the dollar. It’s not the case that the strong dollar then was the cause of falling dollar prices of oil and copper. Instead, the Great Recession was itself the common cause behind movements in all three variables.”

“Report: VW execs knew about fuel economy, emissions cheating a year ago” [Ars Technica]. “Fuel mileage issues, not ‘subdued demand’ behind sales halt of VW Polo BlueMotion.” Sad. We’re looking at millions of cars, now.

Retail: “42 Million Dead In Bloodiest Black Friday Weekend On Record” [The Onion].

Retail: “More than 103 million people shopped online over the four-day weekend, which started Thursday on Thanksgiving and continued with Black Friday, according to an annual survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation. That compares with fewer than 102 million who ventured into traditional stores” [Bloomberg]. “[I]t’s hard to tell if consumers are spending as much as they once did. The average shopper shelled out $299.60 over the weekend, said the [National Retail Foundation], which commissioned Prosper Insights & Analytics to conduct the survey. But a change in methodology means that figure isn’t comparable to those from prior years. It had been $380.95 in 2014’s Black Friday weekend and $407.02 the year before.”

Commodities: “The dramatic decline in the prices of a number of commodities over the last 16 months must have a common factor. One variable that seems to be quite important is the exchange rate” [Econbrowser].

The Fed: ” The Dodd-Frank Act ended the Federal Reserve’s ability to repeat the bailout of individual firms, with huge loans like those extended to AIG and Bear Stearns and also ended its power to create the kinds of lending programs that supported the ABS market and other weakened market sectors, with acronyms like TALF. In a vote later in the morning, the Fed Board is scheduled to approve the language defining the new regime, specifying that only loans aimed at “broad based” areas of the financial system are permitted and they would have to cover at least five entities” [Market News]. “The loan proceeds could not be forwarded to insolvent firms and could have an initial duration of no longer than one year. In another financial crisis, however, Congress could act to restore the power to bailout an individual firm but no longer would the Fed have the ability to act quickly and on its own authority if a single firm threatened to bring down the financial system.” And clever people have been gaming this out for months… 

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 (0); Greed [CNN]. Last week: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others” [Informed Comment]. 

“Three Men Who Shot Black Lives Matter Protesters Emerged From Internet’s Racist Swamps” [David Neiwert, Alternet].

Our Famously Free Press

“So I will try to explain why the Trump candidacy has been so confounding to our political press” [Jay Rosen, Press Think]. “To an extent unrealized before this year, the role of the press in presidential campaigns relied on shared assumptions within the political class and election industry about what the rules were and what the penalty would be for violating them.”

Police State Watch

St Louis judge and DS accidentally let an ACLU lawyer, Grant Doty, serve as a grand juror. Hilarity ensues [St Louis Today]. “One of Doty’s questions that day led to his removal. According to legal filings, he asked an officer, ‘How many police officers he had worked with who were thought by him to be corrupt?'” 

“Burger King manager: Police erased video of Chicago shooting” [AP].

NYPD Commissioner Bratton: “We have been through quite a year this past year, beginning with the demonstrations in last November and December, the street demonstrations, that led to the murder of two of our police officers” [Capital New York]. Woweers. And from Diblasio’s first, and instant, appointment, too.

“[The NYPD] unveiled a new $30 million hay-filled headquarters for its 52-horse, 100-officer mounted unit on the ground floor of a luxury building on Manhattan’s trendy far West Side. Gleaming gold finials atop the same brand of stalls used by the Queen” are among the features” [Telegraph]. The Queen? I would have thought Louis XVI.


“[An AP review of calendars from the Clinton emails shows] the woman who would become a 2016 presidential candidate met or spoke by phone with nearly 100 corporate executives, Clinton charity donors and political supporters during her four years at the State Department between 2009 and 2013, records show” [AP (Daily Mail)]. “‘It shows Hillary Clinton marrying her political interests with the business and policy interests of powerful people,’ said Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. ‘These are the people you cultivate to lay the groundwork for running for president.'” Like we said: “[T]hey have created a ginormous and ever-evolving hairball of tangled and conflicted personal and institutional relationships, a permanent campaign composed of the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Campaign, and Clintonland, the personal networks that both Clintons have accreted over the years of, er, ‘public service.'”


“More than 70 cities and counties in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida have passed resolutions opposing oil exploration or drilling off their coasts” [McClatchy].

“The Biggest Climate Challenge: Leaving Carbon in the Ground” [Bill McKibben, Scientific American].

“The Paris Climate Talks Will Be a Historic Success. And a Historic Disaster.” [Bill McKibben, Foreign Policy].


“Playing politics with people’s water along US-Mexico border” [Reveal News]. It’s not “playing politics.” It’s outright corruption by the local oligarchy.

In interviews with more than a dozen current and former Webb County employees, the Texas Rangers were told that water utilities workers routinely were asked to sell tickets for dances or plates of steak – a common way to fundraise in Webb County political races.

If the workers refused or raised less money than was expected, many told the Rangers, they would be demoted, given menial tasks or threatened with dismissal.

One water utilities department employee, Magdalena Sosa, “stated she had to sell or buy $200 worth of tickets every two weeks” or she could be fired or transferred, the Rangers wrote in their report.

What a racket. I wonder how many other places this is going on?

Guillotine Watch

“Mary-Kate Olsen had ‘bowls of cigarettes’ for guests at wedding” [New York Post]. Even if “cigarette” is a euphemism for “joint,” the cheesy transgressiveness and impunity still gets me.

Class Warfare

“Secular stagnation and the financial sector (updated)” [Crooked Timber]. FIRE sector as Australian eucalypt.

“Black Friday brawl videos are how rich people shame the poor” [WaPo]. Meanwhile, in Syria, the very serious people aren’t brawling at all.

“Rococo Pastoral Paintings And The Opposite Of Marxism” [The Toast].

“Inequality isn’t just unfair — it’s making people sick” [Vox]. They don’t call it class warfare for nothing.

“In DC, public housing tenants forced out, then homes flipped” [AP]. 

“Where’s the partisan polarization on abortion?” [WaPo]. If I read the charts right, the real division is in higher-income cohorts.

The ancien regime raised money by selling offices (“venal offices“). “[Rebecca] Spang writes: ‘Throughout the debate, no one (not even Marat or Robespierre) took the truly revolutionary position of suggesting venal offices might be illegitimate privileges that could be cancelled without payment.’ But, she adds, ‘Simply abolishing the offices was unthinkable but so too was leaving the debt on the books, since officeholders who had not been repaid would retain their property and privilege would still exist.’ Settling the debts in one go would would consign the ancien regime to history and complete the revolution. Hence the issue of assignats backed by the expropriated land of the church” [Enlightenment Economics].

News of the Wired 

“The world’s favorite fruit is slowly but surely being driven to extinction” [Quartz (RS)]. The banana.

“XKCD’s Randall Munroe, whose excellent new book Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words breaks down in absurdly detailed diagrams how everything from the solar system to microwaves actually function, using only the 1,000 (“ten hundred”) most common words in the English language” [Wired]. “Microchip” = “thinking box.” “Speaker” = “sound maker.” And so forth.

“I have 227 browser tabs open, and my computer runs fine. Here’s my secret” [Vox]. Caffeine?

“How LSD Microdosing Became the Hot New Business Trip” [Rolling Stone]. So that’s what happened with iOS; I’d been wondering.

“CITE: The $1 billion city that nobody calls home” [CNN].

“The vision is an environment where new products, services and technologies can be demonstrated and tested without disrupting everyday life,” says Pegasus Managing Director Robert Brumley.

Without a human population to worry about, the possibilities are endless. Driverless vehicles could be used on responsive roads, monitored from above by traffic drones.

So we’re going to test driverless cars — and presumably tweak their algorithms — in an environment without any people or pedestrians. What could go wrong? Another guy with more money than sense.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Marise):


Bev’s tree.

* * *

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, I need to buy fuel, and I need to keep my server up, too.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. 12

    We don’t want change. Or real change. We want to do to the USA what we did to the USSR. Put it out of its misery.

    1. jgordon

      Roman peasants and the people of the Roman occupied territories who were suffering under the yoke sure wanted the empire to go away. But ultimately they had little effect in this regard and ultimately the empire destroyed itself. At the end there was no one left to stop the barbarians from waltzing in and sacking the place.

      Likewise oppressed people today don’t really need to do anything but sit back, relax,and wait for the current empire to die of natural causes. Well, learning to grow vegetables, harvest rainwater, and practicing marksmanship would be things that are useful for survival in the aftermath of its collapse but those things are optional.

      1. LifelongLib

        The average Roman peasant probably had little interaction with anyone farther up the food chain than the local landlord. Ditto for people in the occupied territories — Rome governed largely through local elites and didn’t send the legions in unless somebody got seriously out of line.

  2. Daryl

    > “CITE: The $1 billion city that nobody calls home”

    Don’t they have a couple of these to spare in China?

  3. Anon

    Re: DC Houses

    So, the game plan is this:

    1. Sell house without prior notice, because markets.
    2. Collect monies (some of which should go to building new places, but won’t)
    3. ???
    4. Profits!

    1. Jagger

      1. Sell house without prior notice, because markets.
      2. Collect monies (some of which should go to building new places, but won’t)
      3. ???
      4. Profits!


  4. Kurt Sperry

    Re Clinton’s infrastructure investment proposal: the apparently irrational complexity it seems to me is where the poo sandwiches are generally hidden. Just as they of course are in tax codes, multilateral trade deals and bureaucratic and legal word salads generally. The opacity of the documents produced, both in terms of sheer volume and in complexity and the deliberate arcanity of the language itself is just an obvious way avoid broad public understanding and ultimately accountability.

    1. Pat

      Well, for me it isn’t complex at all. The moment you set up an ‘infrastructure bank’ where the only way I can truly see the private sector profiting is by eventually owning the infrastructure, or at least having the right to jerryrig a profit making system on said infrastructure, I’m out. Now maybe someone can explain to me how this is a benefit to the private sector some other way, but so far no one has. To me this is appears to be a means to privatize profits off public projects, and we all know how that really works = see the parking meters in Chicago.

      God forbid we have someone say we are going to spend 300 billion a dollars a year minimum for the next four years on infrastructure improvement just on transportation systems and updating the electrical grid because it is going to be a priority of our Defense Department. Any funding of defense that does not include said spending will be vetoed outright. And any Congressional member who has a problem with this can go tell your constituents why they do not want this when I point out that our aging roads, bridges, trains, and electrical grid constitute a massive and easy terrorist target and everyone voting against this is too busy making bomb makers happy to protect the United States IN THE United States.

      1. Christopher Fay

        What’s with the electrical grid? Electrical grid CEOs and C-suiters will continue to under maintain their grids and pay themselves overly well until the grid breaks down. Then it is society’s role to rebuild the grid, but crazily, and not at all, but preserve the overly well compensation? When did we fixing the grid become our job? We’re supposed tomaintian the grid by letting private utilities profit, and some of that profit goes to maintaining the grid.

    2. Code Name D

      More than likely, Clinton would funnel the money through a holding company to manage the complexity. They like to charge interest and lots of fees. Not to mention they get to hold the money while they make a detour and the grand Wall Street Casino.

    3. PQS

      Well, you and I think they are poo sandwiches. The grifters think they are gold nuggets. Which they are, to them, of course. KaChing! as Lambert always says.

      Maybe not so needlessly complex after all? Just complex enough to make money.

      1. Brindle

        The more complex, the more junctures and angles– which means more locations for skimming and siphoning—coming and going.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Money, in this case, is not made, but extracted (that’s the business).

        Any real wealth created is from industry (not business) and there’s no particular reason to have the private part of the public-private partnership to get that done.

        Caveat that this depends on the project, but there’s no a priori reason to have private involvement in building public infrastructure at all.

  5. JTMcPhee

    I know it’s all just tin-foil-hatted conspiracy theory, but what could possibly be going on that’s of interest to the rest of the world when the 0.0000000001% gather for the Annual Bilderburg Festivities?

    http://www.silverdoctors.com/bilderberg-goes-it-super-powerful-club-to-talk-ai-cyber-security/#more-54509 Oh, ok, if that’s all it is, seems like they have the planet’s best interests at heart, no problem, perfect!

    Others of course dare to be a little more skeptical:

    BBC News, “Bilderberg: The ultimate conspiracy theory”, 3 June 2004.
    The Bilderberg group, an elite coterie of Western thinkers and power-brokers, has been accused of fixing the fate of the world behind closed doors. As the organisation marks its 50th anniversary, rumours are more rife than ever.
    Given its reputation as perhaps the most powerful organisation in the world, the Bilderberg group doesn’t go a bundle on its switchboard operations.
    Telephone inquiries are met with an impersonal female voice – the Dutch equivalent of the BT Callminder woman – reciting back the number and inviting callers to “leave a message after the tone”.
    Anyone who accidentally dialled the number would probably think they had stumbled on just another residential answer machine.
    But behind this ultra-modest fa�ade lies one of the most controversial and hotly-debated alliances of our times.
    On Thursday the Bilderberg group marks its 50th anniversary with the start of its yearly meeting.
    For four days some of the West’s chief political movers, business leaders, bankers, industrialists and strategic thinkers will hunker down in a five-star hotel in northern Italy to talk about global issues.
    What sets Bilderberg apart from other high-powered get-togethers, such as the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), is its mystique.
    Not a word of what is said at Bilderberg meetings can be breathed outside. No reporters are invited in and while confidential minutes of meetings are taken, names are not noted.
    The shadowy aura extends further – the anonymous answerphone message, for example; the fact that conference venues are kept secret. The group, which includes luminaries such as Henry Kissinger and former UK chancellor Kenneth Clarke, does not even have a website.
    In the void created by such aloofness, an extraordinary conspiracy theory has grown up around the group that alleges the fate of the world is decided by Bilderberg.
    In Yugoslavia, leading Serbs have blamed Bilderberg for triggering the war which led to the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic. The Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the London nail-bomber David Copeland and Osama Bin Laden are all said to have bought into the theory that Bilderberg pulls the strings with which national governments dance.
    And while hardline right-wingers and libertarians accuse Bilderberg of being a liberal Zionist plot, leftists such as activist Tony Gosling are equally critical.
    A former journalist, Mr Gosling runs a campaign against the group from his home in Bristol, UK.
    “My main problem is the secrecy. When so many people with so much power get together in one place I think we are owed an explanation of what is going on.
    Mr Gosling seizes on a quote from Will Hutton, the British economist and a former Bilderberg delegate, who likened it to the annual WEF gathering where “the consensus established is the backdrop against which policy is made worldwide”.
    “One of the first places I heard about the determination of US forces to attack Iraq was from leaks that came out of the 2002 Bilderberg meeting,” says Mr Gosling.
    But “privacy, rather than secrecy”, is key to such a meeting says Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf, who has been invited several times in a non-reporting role.

    As an up-and-coming statesmen in the 1950s, Denis Healey, who went on to become a Labour chancellor, was one of the four founding members of Bilderberg (which was named after the hotel in Holland where the first meeting was held in 1954).

    “There’s absolutely nothing in it. We never sought to reach a consensus on the big issues at Bilderberg. It’s simply a place for discussion,” says Lord Healey.

    That activists have seized on Bilderberg is no suprise to Alasdair Spark, an expert in conspiracy theories.
    “The idea that a shadowy clique is running the world is nothing new. For hundreds of years people have believed the world is governed by a cabal of Jews.
    “Shouldn’t we expect that the rich and powerful organise things in their own interests. It’s called capitalism.” http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=0369

    Yah, a gathering of the filthy rich and unaccountably powerful, “in private” not “in ssecret” (there’s supposed to be a big difference there, from what they say). It’s just “discussion,” at least back in 1954, not “consensus…” What could possibly happen in that rarefied milieu that we mopes should be at all concerned about?

    Back to the Shadows in the Cave!

  6. Hope


    I could not read beyond the description of what the article is about

    As a black person watching the decline of other black people , it makes me want to throw up

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I had perhaps a similar reaction. Trusting corporate insider Democrats to prioritize the real needs of black Americans brings to mind Lucy holding the football in the old Peanuts cartoon. I briefly hoped Obama might, but that hope died almost before the echoes of the inaugural speeches did. Sanders is the only current major party candidate likely to actually address those real needs in any substantive way.

    2. nycTerrierist

      I just read the description, too.

      ‘Fool me 3x, shame on ?’ came to mind…

      The mind boggles.

  7. optimader

    Ok, I would never normally click on a NYC socialite BS article, but on the strength of a link being here I was rewarded with laughs that transitioned into a wince after a brief consideration

    …the 50 guests dined indoors. Attendees were required to turn in their cellphones beforehand.

    Fifty best friends and relatives were asked to turn in their cellphones!?!? HHAHAHAHA!..ohh.. that’s pathetic.

    Party decor consisted of “bowls and bowls filled with cigarettes, and everyone smoked the whole night,” the source said
    What version of stink weed were they hustled for??? According to someone I know , beyond maybe four-five puffs of any decent contemporary grade of pot and it’s go lay on the ground time if a couch isn’t available.

    In a humanist kinda way, I actually feel some sympathy for these two girls. They’re obviously set financially, which of course is better than the lot in life of many people, but none the less in reality what pathetic, superficial lives they lead.

    Products of parents living vicariously, what gets spit out is a hollowed out anorexic looking 29yo marrying a hard mileage looking mid forties Sarkosy that looks like a slightly younger version of a even harder mileage Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

    Start the divorce date raffle.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Why is this always how things turn out? Silly notion, that somehow us naked apes could “do better next time…”

    2. Plenue


      I immediately remembered this.

      “It starts to feel like The Hunger Games, where everyone’s got these crazy hairstyles because everyone has gotta be unique in this topsy-turvy world.”

      “You go to these parties and I was at one, I swear, they had this fountain and they had remote control boats in the fountain, so you could be talking and someone would be like ‘would you care to race a boat?’ and you’re like ‘well okay’, and you just race a remote control boat while you’re having a conversation.”

      “And, also, my experience was there were years and years and years where nobody gave me anything, I didn’t have any money, and then suddenly the minute you hit it you go to these things and they start giving you stuff. And you’re like ‘I can pay for it now, why weren’t you giving this to me ten years ago?’.”

      Socialism of the rich.

  8. Benedict@Large

    From early in the Dyson article:

    “We don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered,” Clinton said.

    And that’s exactly where it always ends with the Clintons/Obama. Let’s not promise anything from the government, because as everyone knows, the government can’t do anything right. Which of course we know because the Republicans (and Friedman, and Hayek) have all told us this is so. The end of macroeconomics itself, central to the beliefs of the Austrians, drips too from the heart of the right wing of the Democratic Party.

    And this is what Dyson is recommending to us? The end of the two-party state?

    1. DJG

      Indeed. But we don’t live in a two-party state. We live in a country ruled by the Party of Property, which has a far-right wing and a right wing.

      When “realists” like Clinton/Obama/Clinton talk about false hope, they mean that you shouldn’t have a thirst for fairness, justice, decent work, universal education, adequate public health, a retirement plan, and so on. You are part of the base that the Democrats hate. So your hopes are false.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Reminds of Obama’s 2009 inaugural. Everybody’s still all excited about the hope and change thing, and he gives a speech embracing austerity. Now Clinton’s doing it, just earlier in the process. Has she said “tough choices” yet?

  9. Steve

    “To an extent unrealized before this year”? Umm, I seem to recall the “unrealized” boxing out of, to take those most recent, high-profile examples Nader (’00), Nader (04), Stein (08), Stein (12), Stein (16), Lessig (16). But at least the “presstitutes” are now disclosing their systemic biases.

    1. Nigelk

      One wonders how much of his Clinton endorsement is related to Cornel West endorsing “Brother Bernie”.

  10. McKillop

    The Guardian misnames the general, and growing, attitude towards TTP as a “. . . storm of public opposition, particularly in Europe, mainly stemming from the fear that the interests of multinationals are being put before those of citizens. Trade has become intertwined with the broader issues of corporate power and inequality.”
    ’tis not fear but -realization- that citizens’ interests are to be sacrificed. Wikileaks gave us the first vivid clues and in the few weeks we’ve studied the document it’s confirmed that there is an on-going effort to sell our sovereignty and other interests to corporations.
    Perhaps the negotiators and other interested parties ‘anticipated’ success and strove to lessen their ‘ anxieties’ through secrecy but I doubt that ‘fear’ disturbed their thoughts. Ditto the citizens.
    Fear is one of those words that are used holus-bolus – somewhat like ‘love’ or ‘hate’ or other poor overworked words that can be easily dismissed as extravagance. Or dead metaphors without real meaning.

  11. Tom Denman

    “…maybe, just maybe, we will get from Hillary Clinton what we most need and truly deserve: a set of political practices and policies that reinforce the truth that black lives must, and do, finally matter” [Michael Eric Dyson].

    And maybe, just maybe, pigs will fly.

  12. alex morfesis

    water dept texas corruption…the answer is EVERYWHERE…but still 200 bux per week is a bit much…unless the person is making more than 1500 per week…then might be in line…from my “knowledge and experience”(remember I served as an election judge in chicago for a few years)…

    anywhere from 5% to 15% of net bankable income…

    and for some woman who can’t afford it…gropes and knee pads from/for fat louie…

    waiting lists that suddenly get reset due to some “error” in the process…error meaning the wrong people had applied, then “reopening” the waiting list by making a public notice in some obscure publication that 12 people actually read with a “circulation” of 5k…of which they never have to produce an actual proof of printing…

    happens here in florida with phony foreclosure public notices in politically connected micro throw away papers or “mystery business publications”…one county the public notices are being paid for and the publisher here on the west coast laughs so hard since no one is watching or cares…

    they used to have two obscure paper boxes you could buy from…and now they only have one…and the issue in the window is 6 mths old…they only claim 9000 “circulation” across the entire west coast for I think 8 counties…and get paid millions of dollars every year by the foreclosure firms for a “general circulation” paper you would be hard pressed to find and be able to buy…

    trooph, just us, and the banana republic way…

  13. kimsarah

    Re: “Poor Democratic voter turnout since 2000.”
    It started with Bill Clinton and has lasted through Obama and now HIllary.
    The DNC has abandoned its infrastructure at the state and local levels by putting pretty much all its marbles into the presidential races, and a few Senate races. The rest of the candidates on down the line are on their own.
    Contrast that with the moves made by the Republican party during the same time period to strengthen its infrastructure all the way down to dog catcher.
    Republicans now have control of more local governments, school districts and state legislatures than they ever had. And even Congress. But it hasn’t paid off yet in the presidential races, except for Bush.
    The point is, if the Democratic Party were serious about winning more than the presidency, it would take a page out of the GOP playbook and rebuild its infrastructure. But I seriously doubt this will happen. I have heard of no such strategy, other than to beg voters for money to give to Hillary. They’ve lost their marbles.

  14. adsf

    So today there is a big push (for instance on Daily Kos) on a story that HRC is a progressive because she wrote a memo shortly before finishing her role as SOS suggesting Obama move Gitmo detainees to the US (though not granting them the great writ of habeus corpus, meaning the memo did not suggest the detainees actually be afforded a trial). Many commentators are lamenting how Obama so desires to bring the detainees to the US but was prevented by Republicans, and how Sanders in voting against a bill that would have brought the detainees to the US but not have given them trials is a “purity” sell-out because he wanted more than just moving the detainees. He wanted to also grant them trials, which is “purity” according to Daily Kos.

    What strikes me is this seems to be a furthering of this false narrative of Obama as an ineffectual progressive. I looked up the text of the bill that “prevents” Obama from closing Gitmo, and the text says “No amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense may be used during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2016, to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee who— is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and is or was held on or after January 20, 2009, at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense.”

    What I was wondering is why not use other appropriated funds? Funds are allocated to the Department of Justice for conducting trials. Could the detainees not be brought to trial in the US using funds allocated for bringing criminals to trial? It frustrates me that when these neoliberal elites want something (like TPP) nothing holds them back, and when there is something that requires leadership then the smallest speed-bump stops everything and “oh so sorry, we tried all we could”.

  15. ProNewerDeal

    My random observation on Sir v Maam.

    When doing anything business related / formal, for example talking Customer No Service, on phone or in-person, I try to be polite. Part of being polite, I say Sir or Maam when talking to a person.

    If the person I am speaking to is a man, I address him as “Sir”. It doesn’t matter if the dude is 18 or 90 or whatever age, there is no offense by saying Sir.

    Likewise if the person is a woman, I address her as “Ma’am”.

    However, I have been told by multiple women friends, that they hate ever been addressed as “Ma’am”, even in a formal situation, partially “because it makes me feel old”.

    I guess as a Lesser Of 2 Evils, I will continue using “Ma’am” in a formal situation.

    Personally I opine that Murican Culture should establish an equivalent to Sir to use when addressing a woman in a formal situation, whether it is “Ma’am” or some other term.

    What is your take on this issue? Thx again.

    1. Mrs. Bob

      The proper form for a woman who is twenty years on up is Ms. I hate ma’am but Ms. is fine. However that is my personal opinion.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, I hate being addressed as Sir, and I don’t address others as Sir. At least when talking to customer service, neither of us are in the military (“Sir, yes sir!”) and neither of us are law enforcement (“Sir, will you step away from the car?”).

      I try to convey respect with clear language and tone of voice, not forms of address.

  16. ProNewerDeal

    Any advice on choosing a PCP physician?

    I am supposed to select a PCP physician from some list. My problem is I am new to this geo area & do not know any of these persons on this PCP list.

    If I am unable to find a recommendation from a friend, is there any other method of researching a physician? By chance is there some Yelp-like “customer review” site, that has reviews of physicians?

    I believe I have found (another) case where the Free Market Fantasy Fallacy of both the customers & suppliers having Perfect Information, does not hold. I have 0 Information in this case, not the theorized Perfect Info.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Friend of mine recently asked her “potential” surgeon just how many times he had performed what he diagnosed for her… along with a few other questions pertinent to his qualifications/experience questions… He nor his office ever gave her a straight answer and billed her for each and every time she tried to ask.

    2. jrs

      Are there much better ratings of physicians in any other system? Serious question. Or are Canadians etc. as much in the dark when actually choosing one as we are? Perhaps with more choice because of less restrictions due to HMOs etc.. but more choice with no more information is only of so much benefit.

    3. Daryl

      Found mine on google. Got lucky and found their office practice and competence to both be well above average.

  17. Plenue

    I require a clarification regarding the TPP:

    All the countries have already signed the deal, now it just needs to pass within the legislators of each individual country. Does it need to pass in all twelve to happen? Or if it only gets by in at least two of them will it still be valid between just them?

  18. upstater

    Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, Is Found Guilty on All Counts

    This is fantastic news! Hope this guy has to spend 25 years in Attica or Clinton.

    Next one to go to the slammer: Dean Skelos, former Senate leader. Have you read the quotes of his son? Amazing arrogance.

    Hoping Andrew Cuomo is not far behind to keep them company — you know, “the 3 men in a room” that negotiate all the budget and legislation amongst themselves. Bharara is reportedly investigating the “Buffalo Billion” sweetheart deals and Cuomo’s links to real estate interests in NYC.

    29 New York legislators convicted in 12 years. Albany is a sewer. Maybe Zephyr Teachout can get elected in 2018.

    1. bob

      Preet is Chuck’s boy. Same office as Rudy had.

      That he didn’t actually subpoena the Moreland Omission show just how serious he is. Not very. He asked for a case, and he got one. He didn’t want to upset too many people by actually looking at all of Albany’s shit. As I’ve put it before- “the omission gave preet A case against silver, not THE case against silver”

      The case against silver would be endless, and lead to more odorous behavior and “billing” for “legal services” never rendered.

      It seems like consolidation time in Albany, probably along the same lines, among the same small group of lobbyists that helped shelly pick Patterson to “run” NY….

      Empires don’t fall overnight. As the pond shrinks, the stakes get smaller, the fighting gets meaner.

    2. Pat

      I hope you are right, but my expectation of that happening has disappeared. How long between indictment of Silver and Skelos? How long has it been since Skelos was indicted? And…crickets…regarding our piss pour excuse for a governor.
      Not going to happen.

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